Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Questions and Answers

What are you doing when you say something? Anything at all. What is a proposition?

If you are Collingwood, any proposition is the answer to a question.

Because every proposition is an answer to a question. Question and answer are strictly corollary. There cannot be one without the other.

I don't know what to make of this claim.

I know I read someone who said that it was a shame that Collingwood was never able to systematically develop this idea of 'question and answer logic'. He only devoted a single chapter to it in An Autobiography and a dozen pages or less in An Essay On Metaphysics. 

This is a claim I've been casually trying to work out in my own experience. When someone asserts something, I wonder, is there a question that necessarily underlies their statement? Can I indeed identify an implicit question to their statements? Do I believe that that question is constitutive of the statement? Or is it possible that their statement exists independently of the question that I suspect to be constitutive of their statement?

A good example of what I'm getting at is the application of contemporary concepts to history. One might be tempted, for example, to say that many ancient Greeks were homosexual. The application of the term 'homosexual', however, would not account for the quality of the Greek experience. They would not have classified themselves in that way and therefore would not have thought the same things about their experiences and therefore would not have any experience that could be called 'homosexual'. What the term homosexual does, however, is give us a rational framework that appears to fit a certain type of behavior. Even if that rationality is incorrect, it is still appealing because it appears logical.

Similarly, I could be applying a rational framework (a question) that does not necessarily apply to a situation (an answer). I could be supposing that a question is constitutive of a proposition even if that hypothetical question (or even the issue of questions themselves) did not account for the existence of that proposition.

These aren't good examples and this writing probably isn't clear or precise.

But its late and I'm tired.

All you need to know is that Collingwood's notion of question and answer logic is a concern of mine that will eventually get my attention. It's in the background right now. But if someone is reading this, do me a favor, try to reflect on the things you say. Are they always answering a question? If it seems so, is that question imaginary? Or is it actually constitutive of the statement?

Also, ask your self, Do any of these questions matter?

Lol. Probably not, bro.

But I like the way thinking feels.

No comments:

Post a Comment